Rating: Lots of swearing.
Summary: Okay, this began very small and gradually got oh so very big. I didn't intend it to work this way but, well, it did so there. The plot is heavily centred on Kirk and this could almost be considered gen (shock horror, stone the woman she's written something gen!) but contains slightly background Chekov/Sulu and the irrepressible Spock/Uhura.
But, seriously, if you're looking for a slash fiction turn back now 'cause this... well. This isn't one of them. I don't even know where I'm going to pimp this out.
Anyway, this is very large so, enjoy! *Shuts up and lets you read*
The starship Enterprise moved silently at warp, streaking its way through empty space. Reality bulged around its warp field, pushing stars seemingly out of its wake as if tunnelled through the unrelenting darkness. Its Captain sat slouched in his chair, casually leaning back and enjoying the streaking of passing stars across the viewer in front of him, holding his face with a flattened palm. His crew walked about around him, quickly whispering orders to each other and sending messages across their communication panels. The ship was working like clockwork, every part moving silently and with utmost efficiency.
Unfortunately, especially on vessels named Enterprise, it was when everything was going right that things always went terribly wrong.
There was a blip. A light blue blip in space forming a splayed diamond shape in one of the corridors on one of the lower floors. Instruments didn't detect it and no one on the deck paid any attention, too busy with whatever they were doing to be looking out for rips in the fabric of space time.
The blip disappeared as soon as it appeared, leaving behind a man dressed smartly in a Captain's uniform of a style which wouldn't be implemented for another hundred years, if at all. He breathed the air happily, staring decisively through the crowd of people.
"Oh humans," he crooned with slight fondness. "Oh my little humans. Running around on your ships like ants in a farm." The man growled, looking with resentment above him. "With no idea of the trouble you've put me through."
An Ensign in passing stopped typing on a PADD as he noticed the man, out of place in such a busy corridor. He was about to shout to him, to ask him what he was doing, as the man vanished into thin air with only a blue diamond of immeasurable power to indicate anything had happened at all.
He stood stunned for a moment. Then he ran to the nearest comm panel and hit it, opening a channel.
"Riley to Ensign Chekov. I... I think we've got an intruder alert. Sir."
"Is anything actually registering?" Kirk asked for the second time.
"No, Keptin," Chekov insisted, playing with his controls to increase the sensitivity of the internal security matrix. "The computer insists there is no one on board apart from registered members of the crew, all present and accounted for."
"Maybe Riley's drunk?" Sulu suggested.
"No," came an echoing voice from nowhere, "although with your species fondness for intoxication it is surprising that he isn't."
There was a flash of blue light and a man appeared, lying across Sulu's console and staring at the ceiling. Along with his uniform appeared a thick black band across his left arm. He sighed forlornly as Sulu backed away, pulling a phaser from his belt. Chekov did the same, backing up to protect the Captain.
Kirk was stunned for a second before regaining his senses. "Who are you? And how the hell did you get on my ship?"
The man ignored him, rolling his head towards the viewer and flicking his eyes around the darkness of space. "Oh, the universe can be such an unforgiving mistress. Oh woe. Oh indignity."
"Red alert," Spock said, calmly.
The sirens started to wail until the man lazily put up a finger, making the sirens die slowly into silence. "No music today, vulcan. I am in mourning for my Captains."
"Mourning?" Kirk asked loudly, but then shook himself. "You know what? I don't care. Explain yourself."
The man rolled off the console with ease, standing and surveying the Bridge. "You humans and your exploration. Your need to explain. It's what's brought you to this point in the first place. And destroyed my Captains."
"By that can we assume you are not human?" Spock walked calmly forward, in front of Chekov and Sulu who still had their weapons pointing at the man's head.
"Human?" the man replied, scorned. "Pah! No. I tried it once, wasn't really my thing. Biology is too disgusting and confining."
"Yet you share their physiology," Spock continued, looking at the man carefully. "And the customary expression of grief. I assume that black band is representative of the human expression of mourning?"
"You are correct, vulcan," the man addressed, sitting in Sulu's seat. He winced a little, shifting. "This ship is terribly put together. What is wrong with these seats? So restrictive. If you are intent on being vertebrates you might as well enjoy it a little."
With a wave of the man's hand, the seats slouched back into deck chairs and Hawaiian style flowers, albeit black and grey, sprung from the sides of the bridge. The man now sported a black straw hat. Chekov and Sulu started as they realised they were no longer holding phasers, but drinks. Kirk scowled and ripped off his black lei.
"Stop messing with my ship!"
The man held up his sunglasses - black - to take a better look at the man who was scowling over him. "You are the Captain?"
"Yes! And I o-"
"Pah!" the man ignored him, replacing his sunglasses and taking a large sip of his drink, the black ice cubes clinking in the glass. "A mere child. Nothing like my Jean-Luc..."
He sounded almost wistful. Kirk fumed, only stopping himself from punching the man when Spock put a hand on his shoulder.
"Diplomacy, Captain," Spock muttered quietly. "If he has so much power it would be illogical to antagonise him."
The Captain growled but relented. Spock stood at the side of the deck chair.
"Jean-Luc, I assume, is one of the Captains whom has died?"
The man let out a wail of sadness. "It's worse than that! He never existed. At least, not in this timeline. There have been many in which he has died or the universe acted in such a way to prevent his birth but this one has caused significant pain to me."
"Because this timeline was born from interference with another?"
The man lolled his head at Spock and looked at him carefully. "So you know?"
"Yes," Spock answered. "It was an incident involving myself from the other timeline which caused this new timeline to arise."
"Oh. So you're Spock?"
"Yes," Spock answered.
The man clicked his fingers and Spock vanished in blue light. Sulu and Chekov dropped their drinks and went for the phasers hidden beneath the Captain's chair. Kirk growled, jumping forward and ripping the sunglasses off the man.
"What have you done to my First Officer?"
"Relax, Captain," the man replied with disdain. "I've sent him home to Vulcan. I don't want to see that man's face," he added, covering his eyes with the back of his palm.
"Vulcan's been destroyed!" Kirk yelled.
"Really?" the man asked, ripping his palm away. He looked upwards for a moment before replying. "Well, okay then, I sent him to your Starfleet Headquarters. I wouldn't kill a First Officer, Captain," the man whispered, leaning in. "I know how important they are."
"Uhura send a message to Starfleet asking them whether Spock has... appeared," Kirk ordered, returning his attention to the man. "Who are you?"
"I," the man replied, putting a hand to his chest, "am Q. In both race and name. And you? Boy-Captain?"
"I am James Tiberius Kirk," Kirk snarled.
"Oh, are you now?" Q said with glee. "Jean-Luc spoke very highly of you. I think Kathy had a few of your books. You look slightly," Q grabbed Kirk's chin and turned it, pursing his lips forcefully, "different. You have blue eyes now?"
Kirk slammed his hand onto Q's and wrenched it away. "I have always had blue eyes."
"No you haven't," Q smiled and a white A4 piece of paper appeared in Kirk's hand, the face of a Starfleet officer on the front. "See?"
Kirk took in the face in his hand. He recognised it instantly from Spock Prime's mind meld.
James Tiberius Kirk. Prime. His namesake.
Jim breathed carefully, trying to take in every angle of this man's face. He found himself dissecting it. Was that a hint of his father? Was that? They looked similar, but not quite. The man in the photo was less scarred. More carefree. This Kirk looked slightly older than he was, but still youthful. He was smiling, Kirk noticed that. Smiling as if nothing could ever be wrong with the world.
Kirk looked up and noticed that the entire Bridge crew had received similar cards, Kirk assumed with their own counterparts faces. They looked bewildered and slightly scared. Kirk looked at Q with measured calm.
"Take them away, Q."
"Why?" Q asked, innocently.
"We are not them," Kirk growled, crunching the photo into a ball in his hand. "We are nothing like them now and we don't need to see it."
Q sighed and the photos disappeared from reality with a blue hue. Q stood up and put down his drink on a table that wasn't there a few seconds ago, looking carefully at the Captain. Q scoped him for a second before speaking.
"I don't think I like you," Q mentioned, his eyes glittering. "I think you will be more like Sisko than Jean-Luc."
"I don't care about Jean-Luc," Kirk mocked.
Q feigned pain, putting a hand on his heart. "You've hurt me, James," Q muttered. "Hurt me right here."
"I've heard enough!" Kirk shouted, turning to Chekov and Sulu. "Fire."
Both officers fired their phasers, but the stream cut short of Q by inches. Q rolled his eyes.
"Phaser fire? Come on," Q muttered, moving his hand to zap the offending weapons into un-reality. "Be more original."
Sulu dispensed with weapons and ran forward, his hand pulling back for a punch. Q put out his hand and held him in a bubble, sighing.
"You humans really are a most savage race," Q muttered, throwing Sulu across the bridge.
Sulu slammed into a panel and fell to the floor, unconscious. Chekov looked at him alarmed before turning his attention to Q, muttering something vicious in Russian and stepping forward to hit him. Kirk put out a hand, stopping the Ensign.
"Cool it, Chekov," the Captain ordered.
"Medical team to the bridge," Uhura uttered, with one hand splayed on a panel and the other holding her communications equipment in her ear. "Captain, I've just received word from Spock. He is at Starfleet Headquarters. He's safe."
Kirk heard the relief in her voice. He turned his eyes to Q who was observing his nails, looking half-heartedly at the Captain.
"See? Your vulcan kitty is fine."
"What do you want, Q?" Kirk barked as Chekov ran over to tend to the unconscious Sulu.
"Well, I am the continuum's resident expert on humanity," Q explained bitterly. "And as such I felt it would be my duty to see whether this version of humans are any good. Instead of looking at the whole history of humanity - I've done this before, it's very very dull - I've decided to test a single ship. Your ship, Captain, will be my Petri dish."
"Petri dish?" Kirk spat, insulted. "And what do you mean by test?"
Q smiled eagerly. "Ooh, that's the best bit. I will test you on three parts, which I know from my intense evaluation of humanity will give me the best view of your society and whether it should be allowed to continue."
Kirk opened his mouth to protest but Q took away his vocal chords with a swipe of his hand. Kirk choked as Q continued.
"First!" Q announced, addressing the bridge, "you will be tested on your ruthlessness, in tribute to that stubborn Captain Sisko who I never really got on with. Your second task will be that of demonstrating authority," Q sighed as he stroked his hair, "my dear dear Captain Picard embodied in that particular endeavour. And finally," Q announced loudly, "you will be tested in the concept of love," Q shook his head happily and clasped his hands together, "my dearest Kathy represented in the most passionate of human emotions."
Kirk stared at Q violently for a few seconds before Q turned to him.
"You have three days to decide which crew member should represent each field. Until then, I may appear at times to observe your progress. Good bye, Boy-Captain," Q winked and vanished.
Kirk breathed out as his vocal chords returned. The Bridge jumped back to normal, the Hawaiian flowers disappearing and the chairs returning to their Starfleet issue forms. Four phasers appeared on the floor in a pile. Sulu groaned as he woke up, smiling at Chekov who put a hand to his head.
Spock jumped out of nowhere at his position, looking disorientated for a moment before returning to his usual reserved state.
"Captain?" Spock asked.
Kirk looked at the viewer for a second before replying.
"Get Ambassador Spock on a channel. I want to know everything I can about this... Q."
The conference regarding the situation had been quick and to the point. Spock Prime had sent over as much information as he could about Q's appearances in his own timeline, but a lot of it was heavily classified. Starfleet had taken issue to parading around information that could possibly pertain to the future and had restricted it to Starfleet's top brass. Even so, Jim had read up on the encounter at Farpoint station - although the 'alien race' Spock had alluded to Q introducing the ship to later had been blacked out by bureaucratic red tape -, Q's brief appearance on a deep space station in a region of space that hadn't even been explored yet, and his repeated invasions to a ship trapped in the Delta Quadrant.
All of the information was second hand, being repeated from Spock Prime himself, but it was all they had. Kirk had read it repetitively until he had come to the same conclusion that he was sure the three Captains previously had.
He was a dick.
But Q was an extremely powerful dick, so Kirk was struggling with the idea of firing everything they had at him when he next appeared or pandering to his 'experiment'. Spock had decided to go with the latter.
"So the tasks are ruthlessness, authority and love?" Sulu asked, discharging himself from Sickbay and returning to the Conference Room as soon as he had assured Chekov he wasn't going to die.
"Yeah," Kirk growled at the computer in front of him, pawing at the crew list. "Sounds like some sort of game, doesn't it?"
Uhura stared at the table as she thought. "From what Spock Prime has told us about Q it seems that he likes to play games. Make challenges."
Spock nodded. "It will probably be unwise to try and fight the rules of this game."
"Fine," Kirk muttered with the impression that it certainly wasn't. "So. Crewmembers. He didn't specify any race or age limit, did he?"
"No," Chekov answered. "But I feel it unlikely that he would want representatives from anywhere other than Earth. He is testing humanity. We should probably limit our searches to those crew members who have pure human linage."
"I agree. So, the first challenge. Ruthlessness?" Kirk repeated, looking around the table. "What do we think that will entail?"
"A lot of blood sport probably," McCoy growled.
"I volunteer," Sulu shifted himself forward in his chair. "I have the most training in this area."
"Sulu, he's not going to put up sandbags and get you to stab as many as possible in under thirty seconds," McCoy snapped. "He might put you on a planet and ask you how many people you can kill. Women. Children. Your own family."
Sulu swallowed at that but looked up at Kirk defiant. "I would still rather it be me than anyone else on the ship."
Kirk smiled at him but shook his head. "No Sulu, I'm not going to put any member of my crew through anything like that. We'll put the ruthlessness task to the side for now. Authority?"
"May I recommend yourself, Captain," Spock answered, his fingers neatly laced on the table. "Your command in Nero's attack alongside the past few months as Captain of the Enterprise have been exemplary."
"Why, thank you Spock," Kirk replied, beaming.
"And since I myself as half-Vulcan cannot be considered, I believe you would be the next logical choice," Spock finished.
Kirk frowned and ignored Chekov and Sulu's amused smirks. "Okay, then the third task. Love?"
"I -" Uhura began, but Spock interrupted.
"I believe that Lieutenant Uhura should not be allowed to participate in this task," Spock said, calmly.
"Why not?" Uhura asked, narrowing her eyes at Spock.
"You are currently in a relationship with a half-Vulcan," Spock replied, a little hesitantly. "Our relationship is not that of typical humanity."
"What is typical?" Chekov announced. "Should we prevent gay couples from offering to participate? Anyone who has ever dated outside their own species? I find this scientific experiment to be completely invalid."
"Invalid it may be, Ensign Chekov," Spock said, ignoring Chekov's PADD which spun across the table in frustration. "But these are Q's rules, not ours."
Chekov rolled his eyes and leaned on the table, absentmindedly pinging one of his curls.
Sulu looked at him carefully before speaking. "Should I compile a list of those human crew members currently in human-human relationships? We can decide who would be more appropriate to represent the ship from that."
Kirk nodded. "Do it, Mr Sulu. As for the ruthlessness task, Uhura I want you to see who has the most experience in war situations and make a broad list of strengths and weaknesses. Chekov, I want you to go down to Engineering and work with Scotty to see if there's any way we can trap Q if he appears again. Bones, according to the data we have there's a high chance members of the crew may be abducted or moved to other planets. I want you to derive some sort of chip to work as a high-scope tracking device and start chipping all the crew."
"I'm a doctor not an E-"
"-Engineer, I know," Kirk sighed, putting his hands flat on the table. "That's why I want you to work with Chekov and Scotty when they're done. Dismissed."
The Bridge crew scattered away, talking loudly. Kirk slumped in a chair, rubbing his eyes and wondered whether Q wouldn't mind him taking two of the tasks himself.
Chekov drank his drink quietly in the corner of an empty Mess. He had decided with Scotty early on that brainstorming a device able to hold Q was as pointless as it was impossible and so had proceeded directly to working out a tracking device. They had reached a road block five hours later and Chekov had relented to Scotty's orders to 'go chill out somewhere'. Chekov felt his head burning with exhaustion and pressure. He slumped over the table and groaned.
"How old are you?"
Chekov sat up quickly. Q had appeared across from him, looking sceptically at Chekov. Chekov resisted the temptation to hit him and matched his gaze.
"I am seventeen," he said, firmly.
"And you're an Ensign?"
Q leaned back in his chair, thinking. He pressed his forefingers together and nodded slowly.
"I'm going to call you... Wesley-Two," he announced, decisively.
Chekov decided to ignore him and keep drinking. He stopped as Q pulled a face. "What?"
"I still don't understand why you humans don't do that in private," Q grimaced. "It's disgusting. Digestion. Excretion. Yuck."
Chekov didn't know what Q was referring to until he saw Q's line of sight. "You do not drink?" Chekov asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No!" Q replied, insulted. "Well, I can. I can do anything. But it has no use."
"How sad," Chekov replied, grinning slightly. "I would not wish not being able to experience vodka properly on anyone. What a boring existence you must have."
Q leaned in. "Do not try to play with me, Wesley-Two."
Chekov leaned in alongside. "Why not? You're playing with us."
"I am... investigating," Q announced, waving away the accusation. "Not playing."
"With pointless tasks and an imperfect representation of humanity? What scientific method have you in the Q continuum?"
"I need none of your method," Q replied, scornfully. "Science is an old hat. The Q have surpassed science."
"How is that possible?" Chekov asked, putting down his glass.
Q smirked. "We Q can control everything, Wesley-Two." Q pulled a piece of paper from thin air and pushed it across the table to Chekov.
Chekov stared at it. It was his face - no - his alternate universe's face. The man was smiling, happily. Chekov picked it up carefully, playing with the photo gently under his fingertips. He felt the same flutter he had experienced on the Bridge earlier. He noticed his cheeky smile. The cut of his hair.
"He was... Navigator?" Chekov asked, quietly.
"Yes," Q said, observing the movements of Chekov's eyes. "Navigator of this ship, in fact. Your position. Your rank. Your obsession with Russia but not," Q pulled down the photo allowing Chekov to catch his eyes, "your age."
"Oh," Chekov said quietly, looking at the man in the photo. "He was younger."
"No," Q said.
Chekov shot his eyes up. "Older? This Chekov was older?"
"Yes," Q remarked casually. "Five whole years older when he gained your position," Q rolled the words in his mouth as Chekov's lips twitched a smile. "Why does that make you happy, Wesley-Two?"
Chekov snatched the paper away from Q and put it to the side of the table, face up. "It does not."
"Yes it does," Q continued, leaning over the table. "It makes you ecstatic to think that you beat one of your counterparts. How very," Q suddenly grew pointed ears and Vulcan eyebrows, "illogical of you."
Chekov took another drink, looking over at the man in the photo.
Q's adjustments disappeared and he returned to staring at Chekov with an evil grin. "Of course there will be people better than you, Wesley-Two. The boy I've named you after became an acting Ensign at age fifteen and became a transdimensional - or what passes for transdimensional nowadays - being at the age of twenty-two. In all manner of respects you are very very behind him, Wesley-Two."
Chekov gritted his teeth on the glass, staring with measured hate at Q who continued.
"But still you really want to know about this man, don't you?" Q asked, picking up the photo and holding it in front of Chekov's face. "Was he an officer? Did he chose scientifical or tactical? Did he settle down and marry or, more to the point," Q leaned in and whispered into Chekov's ear, "did he have a certain unrelenting crush on his Pilot?"
Chekov's eyes widened and his ears burnt. He slammed down his glass, shattering it and spraying cold vodka over Q's clothes. Q observed him with glee as he stormed out the Mess, swearing and wrapping his arms around his thin body. Q smiled as the door shuttered shut, running a hand over his chest and evaporating the drink from his clothes as an afterthought.
"Oh," Q formed, grinning. "This is going to be fun."
Sulu snapped his hand out to prevent the turbolift from closing. Uhura stepped in quickly, blushing a thank you to Sulu who moved his arm out of the way. The doors slid shut and Uhura spoke quickly.
"Deck one, Bridge."
The turbolift started to move, and Uhura sighed.
Sulu looked across at her carefully. "List going well?"
Uhura shrugged. "So far I have fifty crew members fitting Kirk's specifications. The top of which include you, Kirk himself and some guy I barely know in security. You?"
"Erm," Sulu started, scrolling the PADD in his hand. "There are twenty members of the crew that are married, fifty who are engaged and forty who consider themselves 'in steady relationships'. And that's just the human-human pairings."
"Wow," Uhura said, impressed. "I wonder why there are so many more people engaged then married?"
Sulu shrugged. "It's one of those things you do before going on a long mission. You get engaged so if you die there's less paperwork for the significant other regarding your estate. I knew a couple of people back at the academy who got engaged to their best friends because they didn't trust their family with their money. Or didn't have any family at all."
"Oh. I never heard of that," Uhura frowned. "Are you, er, engaged? Hikaru?"
Sulu furrowed his brow. "Who, me? No."
"With anyone?" Uhura asked, innocently.
"Nah. I used to have someone but they were, er, on the Truman," Sulu darted his eyes away.
"Oh, Hikaru. I'm... I'm so sorry," Uhura uttered, stroking Sulu's arm gently. "I didn't know."
"It's okay," Sulu smiled at her. "Really, it is. We weren't that close. Everyone lost someone they knew."
Uhura nodded sadly, remembering her classmates and how many were on the Truman. The Walcott. The Farragut. She looked at her shoes gently as she remembered their faces. She felt a soft hand on her shoulder and looked across. Sulu was looking at her carefully.
"It doesn't do well to dwell on the past," Sulu said.
"Or what could have been," Uhura added wistfully.
"Yeah. Did you get one of those photos?" Sulu asked, changing the topic. "From Q, I mean. On the Bridge?"
"Yes," Uhura smiled. "I looked very nice. I liked her hair. I think I'm going to try that. She was wearing an earpiece in her photo - she must have been a translator too. How about you?"
"I looked..." Sulu trailed off trying to think of the exact word. "Bad-ass. I think."
Uhura giggled as the turbolift door opened. Sulu laughed alongside, ignoring the strange looks from other crew members.
"Captain, I must insist that it is unwise to elect yourself for both tasks. As your first officer I would usually put my own name forward in preference to prevent any danger befalling you at all, but as I am only half-human this option is not available to me," Spock spoke quietly at Kirk's side.
Kirk wasn't listening, flicking through the controls on his chair with intent.
"Also, if you are to concentrate on one task in particular you are more likely to succeed under the perimeters which Q will set. It is illogical to -"
"Spock," Kirk muttered exasperatedly. "This whole situation is illogical. We have no advantage, no precedent to work off, no information about these... 'tasks' and no way to prepare ourselves!" Kirk smacked the console on his chair with a fist.
"I do not believe damaging the ship will help in our situation," Spock remarked.
"No," Kirk agreed, sighing, "but it will make me feel better."
Spock raised an eyebrow and returned his eyes to the viewer. "May I speak openly, Captain?"
"I believe your mind is conflicted in a no-win situation."
"I don't believe in no-win situations," Kirk growled.
"And neither do I, anymore," Spock replied, turning back to his Captain who smiled a little. "But this is not a no-win situation. It is simply a test without known rules. Instead of becoming angry with this fact I believe it will be a better use of your time to decide which rules to play inside."
"Well, Captain. We must decide what the perfect aspects of human culture to be and apply them under the headings of ruthlessness, authority and love. In that way, maybe we will be able to see what Q will want represented."
"Well, love is simple," Kirk looked up, thinking. "Actually, maybe it isn't. The Shakespearian concept of star crossed lovers, love at first sight? Or maybe he isn't thinking about love in a sexual way. Not eros but agape or storge."
"We have no children on this ship," Spock said. "And no crew with children on Earth. Storge may be difficult for us."
"Well, if it's agape he wants we'll just give Scotty a bottle of scotch and give him half an hour alone with a warp nacelle," Kirk muttered.
"Never... never mind, Spock have you got that list Sulu made?"
Spock passed Kirk the PADD and the Captain scrolled through it carefully. After a few seconds scanning the names he put it down and ran a hand through his hair.
"This is futile," Kirk blinked, yawning. "I haven't slept in twenty four hours. I need some rest. And a shower. Spock, you've got the bridge."
Bones looked cautiously at the small pellet in the Petri dish. Scotty looked over it with raised eyebrows, nodding happily.
"This it?" Bones muttered gruffly.
"Is this it?" Scotty exclaimed with indignity. "I'll have you know McCoy, that this is the smallest long range tracking device in the whole of Starfleet at this very moment. I could get fourteen patients alone just on the nanotechnology used to build this thing. And not only does it work as a tracker, oh no, it also boosts transport abilities. This is the quintessential breakthrough in long range tracking and I," Scotty claimed proudly, "am the one who created it in under twenty four hours."
"Hey!" Chekov butted in from where he was sitting on a biobed, shirtless. "This is joint venture, Scotty."
"Fine," Scotty added, quietly. "And with a little help from Ensign Chekov."
"Yes put does it work?" McCoy asked, picking it up in a pair of long tweezers.
"Does it work..." Scotty scoffed. "O'course it works, laddie! D'ya think I'd give you something that didnae work?"
Bones chose not to answer, placing the small pellet into a specially designed hypospray. Chekov winced as Bones replaced the cartridge.
"I somehow wish we had made it smaller," Chekov swallowed.
"Don't be such a baby," McCoy muttered, standing next to Chekov and pressing the hypospray to his upper forearm. "Now don't move. This'll hurt."
Chekov gulped. If McCoy said it was going to hurt, it was going to fucking hurt. McCoy pushed the hypospray to Chekov's skin and pressed the head of it slowly. Chekov bit his lip with the pain, hissing through his gritted teeth. McCoy wrenched the hypospray away and pressed Chekov's tender skin gently, feeling the small bullet-sized pellet move under it.
"Computer," Scotty started, the computer beeping in response. "Start preliminarily scan alpha-three-beta-nine for any locator pellets in operation."
"Scanning," the computer scanned for three seconds. "Scan complete. One pellet in operation. Assigned to Ensign Chekov, Pavel Andreievich. Location, Enterprise Sickbay. Pellet identity code Jay. Ay. One. El. One. Three. Ay. One. Tee."
"Er, computer that's enough," Scotty murmured as Chekov glared at him, rubbing his sore arm.
"That is not funny, Scotty!" Chekov complained, "It is bad enough Hikaru made that my new authorisation code!"
"Well, it's got no 'v's in it, at least," Scotty nodded, repressing a smirk.
Bones ignored both of them, looking at the fourteen Petri dishes neatly lined in a row. "Is that all you've made?"
Scotty looked at Bones for a moment, biting his tongue. "You're never happy, are you? Yes, that's all we've made. They're really complicated bits of machinery you know, you cannae just replicate them."
"Well, with only fourteen I think it's best just to wait until Kirk decides who's going on these missions," Bones decided. "But I'll go and place them in the Bridge crew just in case Q decides to take them on a little," Bones growled as he forced another canister into a hypospray, "trip."
"Computer activate shower," Kirk groaned, falling onto the smooth wall.
The computer let out a beep and hot water flooded the small room. Kirk moaned happily, opening his mouth and filling it full of water before spitting it into the drain. He rolled over onto his back, looking up into the shower head and letting the water strip the day off him.
There was a flash of light and Q appeared, raising his eyebrows as he looked over the frosted glass.
"Oh dear," Q muttered, looking the Captain up and down with excited eyes. "You are very unlike my Jean-Luc, Boy-Captain."
Kirk grabbed a towel and spat an order at the computer. "Shower off!" he looked up at Q, wrapping the towel around his waist. "Do you always shower with your Captains?"
"No," Q said thoughtfully as Kirk walked out of the shower. "I went to bed with Picard once. I think he was naked - I didn't like to ask. But I was in a bath with Kathy!" Q said, pointing a finger. "I kissed her. Well, I... I kissed her foot..."
"What do you want, Q?" Kirk asked, rubbing his hair dry with another towel. "We haven't decided on crewmembers yet."
"Oh, no no!" Q started, walking around the shower stall and sitting on Kirk's bed. "I'm here for a talk."
"A talk?" Kirk asked, throwing the towel he was using to dry his hair onto the bed beside Q.
"Yes. My son would like your autograph," Q added, pulling a book of blank paper from nowhere and shoving it underneath Kirk's nose. "Although, he would prefer the original Kirk's. He thinks he had p'zazz."
"I am the original Kirk," Kirk said, snapping Q's book shut. "Our timelines collided. It doesn't mean he's any better then I am."
"Now, now Boy-Captain," Q crooned as Kirk started to dress. "You should listen to the echoes of the past. Although, I must congratulate you. You seem to be adjusting to the fact that you have an alternate self a lot better than other members of your crew."
Kirk snapped his head. "You've been talking to my crew?"
"Only a few," Q muttered casually. "Observing is quite dull. Sometimes I like to... interact."
"Leave my crew alone," Kirk growled, pulling a black shirt over his head. "And leave my ship alone."
"I can't do that, Captain," Q said, standing up and pulling down his shirt in memoriam to a long gone adversary. "I'm afraid I hear task two in coming into play."
Kirk's eyes widened. "Two?"
"I never did play right," Q wiggled his fingers. "Good bye!"
He zapped out of reality. Kirk pulled his pants over his boxers and jerked over to his console. He hit the console and started talking, zipping up his pants as he did.
"Captain to the -"
"Bridge to Captain Kirk," Sulu's voice interrupted. "We need you up here, sir."